Affirmations for the rest of us.
We’ve come a long way in portraying [and embracing] the realities of new motherhood. Virtual communities can provide moms with the validation they need in those early and exhausting months. But most of those communities still focus on the journey of traditional, biological parenthood. Where are the squares of solidarity for us non-traditional parents? The letterboards celebrating, “I spent 1,572 days hating my stepmother. Today, I gave her a chance.” So many of the challenges we non-traditional parents face are suffered in silence. In case no one has told you today:
You can love your surrogate completely and wish you never needed her.
You can love being a stepparent and hate the complications that come with it.
You can feel resentful that becoming a parent took so much time, effort, and money for you when it happens so easily for other people.
You can love your child’s birth parent and hate some of the decisions they make.
You can love when your children are with you and feel relieved when they’re not.
You can be proud of your non-traditional family and exhausted by the constant comments from strangers.
You can yell at your children out of frustration even though you “signed up for this.”
You can be proud of a mama for choosing to parent and still feel devastated that her decision left you childless.
You can feel overwhelmed by being a single parent even if you’re the one who asked for a divorce.
You can love your babies completely and still resent the second mortgage you had to take out to bring them into this world.
You can be confident in your decision to place your child for adoption and still ache for them every day for the rest of your life.
You can be angry and devastated over your child’s behavioral challenges even though you were told about them in advance.
You can feel however you feel. You are still a good parent.
Jessica Butler is the co-founder of Raise, stepmother of two, and adoptive mother of one. Prior to Raise, she was a writer on USA’s "In Plain Sight" and TNT’s "The Last Ship." She and her husband, writer/producer Warren Bell, co-created the Nick at Nite series "Instant Mom," based on her life as a stepmother. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and six-year-old son, Levon.